Category Archives: Community Outreach

Dunwoody opens new Veteran and Military Student Center

Dunwoody’s new Veteran and Military Student Center is a central point for veterans and military students to study, find resources, and socialize.

Dean of Students Kelli Sattler began her work at Dunwoody College of Technology in July 2015 with a clear vision for creating a well-rounded student experience.

“Another important part of my role is to step back and think big picture about what our College is doing to support and empower students to be at their best,” Sattler wrote in a letter to students and parents. “In doing so, I collaborate with faculty, academic support, student services, and colleagues across campus. I also listen to students and lead the way in implementing their vision for the future.”

So when veterans and military students spoke up last spring about their need for a bigger space with more resources on campus, Sattler put a focus group together, listened to their needs, and got to work on a plan for a new Veteran and Military Student Center.

The Center opened earlier this fall.

Dunwoody students build a new center

New Veteran & Military Student CenterDanial Hannover is a Construction Management student and President of the Student Government Association (SGA). He also served in the United States Marine Corps from 2008 to 2016. In that time, Hannover was deployed to Afghanistan twice. When he was honorably discharged in 2016, he was a Staff Sergeant (E-6).

Hannover has been working with Sattler to ensure that the new space offers the right kind of environment for veterans and military students to thrive.

New Veteran & Military Student Center“It’s a complete 180 from the last Veterans Center,” Hannover said. “Whenever I come in here there are at least four or five people studying, doing homework. And you see people talking and connecting with each other, which is cool.”

Donavan Sullivan also played a vital role in building the new Center. In addition to his four years of service in the Marine Corps, Sullivan was the Student President of the College’s honor society – Phi Theta Kappa – and the Multi-Cultural Student Union. Since graduating in May 2016, Sullivan has stayed with the College as an Admissions Counselor.

New Veteran & Military Student CenterWith his experience as a veteran, student, and employee, Sullivan offered a unique point of view.

“Some of the things that I suggested were moving it to a bigger space and updating the materials and resources in the Center,” Sullivan said. “We’re also working to get some TVs in there. One of them will play a PowerPoint presentation to show resources for students like the VA number and the suicide hotline. Suicide is a big issue in the veteran community. So I want that hotline number to just be out there constantly.”

Dunwoody establishes new programs to support veterans

In addition to building the new space, Sattler has been working with veterans on campus to establish Warrior Wednesdays and the Veteran and Military Student Organization.

Comcast talks to students at first Warrior WednesdaySattler’s goal for Warrior Wednesdays is to invite veteran-friendly employers in to talk to veteran students, giving students a chance to network with companies who are interested in hiring veterans. Comcast was the first company to participate in October.

“This will be sort of a one-company career fair,” Sullivan said. “Just to get them to come and meet with students about job opportunities for veterans.”

The Veteran and Military Student Organization had its first meeting in early November with plans to customize their agenda based on the needs of the group. Their goal is to become another resource of information and support for students on campus.

The effects of a new space
President Rich Wagner speaks to a veteran student during the Grand Opening of the new Center

President Rich Wagner speaks to a veteran student during the Grand Opening of the new Center

Hannover is already seeing what he had hoped the Center would do for veterans on campus.

“It’s bringing students together talking and connecting with each other. That’s one of the biggest things that veterans have an issue with.” Hannover said. “They’re not around the people that they’ve been around for the past four to 20 years of their life. And they all have the same mentality. So it’s good to see people connect and create a support system for each other.”

Sattler is hoping that this new Center will encourage other students to speak up about their own experiences on campus as well.

“If students see that we listen as an institution and that we care about the things that are working and the things that aren’t, and that we’re willing to make improvements based on that feedback, I think that goes a long way,” Sattler said.

Dunwoody celebrates Veterans Day

Dunwoody will be celebrating Veterans Day on Friday, Nov. 11, with a flag raising ceremony at 10:45 a.m. followed by a presentation featuring Lorne Brunner at 11:30 a.m. in the McNamara Center.

Brunner served in the U.S Navy for 20 years. His military career encompassed six tours of duty in Somalia, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Japan, and the Bering Sea. He was a chief petty officer and cryptologist assigned TAD with two SEAL teams. He will share his journey from leaving a Navy career after significant combat injuries and rehabilitation, to a successful occupation as a licensed private investigator and certified forensic fire and explosion expert.

Architecture students to design dining hall for Steger Wilderness Center

Renowned adventurer Will Steger to play key role in the design process.
Photo of Steger Wilderness Center

The Steger Wilderness Center, located in Ely, MN.

Architecture Instructor Molly Reichert had quite a surprise for third year Architecture students this fall semester: a chance to work with prominent wilderness adventurer and conservationist Will Steger.

Students were asked to help design and build a brand new dining hall for the Steger Wilderness Center, an earth-friendly building devoted to sustainability education and climate change solution. The dining hall, the latest step in the completion of the Center, will serve as a gathering place where center guests can eat, read, study, socialize, and meet. The dining space will be solar-powered and feature a full kitchen and rotating chefs.

Week-long studio prepares students for project

Students began the semester-long project earlier this year by spending a week up in Ely, MN, home of the Center. Completely “off the grid”, students spent their time touring the space, meeting with Will and Center staff, and fleshing out design ideas for the project.

Photo of Dunwoody students camping at the Steger Wilderness Center

Dunwoody students camping on the site of the proposed dining hall

The Dunwoody group even camped out on the site where the dining hall will be built to gain a better understanding of how the land worked in relation to the rest of the Center.

At the end of the studio, Reichert said it became very clear to her that the students were not only impressed with the space, but also with their client.

“It was very interesting and eye-opening for students to see the capacity that Will—just one person—has,” Reichert said. “From going on arctic expeditions, to designing buildings, building buildings, working on policy work and educating—I think they were all very inspired by him.”

“Many of the students described the experience as broadening, which I think is such a beautiful way to think about something.”

Final building designs to be presented in December
Photo of where the dining hall will be built in relation to the rest of the Center

Proposed dining hall program diagram

Since the studio, students have primarily been working on documentation, including gathering information on Will’s vision, zoning constraints, building codes for the area, kitchen requirements, etc. But now, Reichert said, they are ready enter the schematic design portion of the project.

“It was quite funny because everyone was so inspired and interested in Will and this project that it was hard keeping everyone at bay and to not get into design and to just focus on research and documentation. So, I think everyone is really chomping at the bit to just dig in. They can’t wait to get started.”

Reichert explained that students will have to learn how to design to the constraints and mission of the Center. This means taking into account the harsh winters and freezing temperatures of northern MN. The design of the building must also reflect the local ecosystem and speak to the other structures that are part of the Steger Wilderness Center. The entire design process is expected to take several weeks.

Photo of Will Steger at Dunwoody College working with students on design possibilities for the dining hall

Will Steger at Dunwoody College working with students on design possibilities for the dining hall

At the end of the semester, students will present their final designs to Will, who will then choose several designs, or portions of those designs, to move forward with. The final building design will be dependent on funding and community support.

The hope is to break ground as early as 2018.

Learn more  

This is the first design studio in the 5-year Bachelor of Architecture degree at Dunwoody. The course aims to introduce students to the importance of site and precedent in relationship to architecture.

Learn more about Dunwoody Architecture.

Monitor the project’s progress.

 

Need for women in trade careers inspires Rosie’s Girls Summer Camp

Middle-school girls explore STEM programs, professions with Dunwoody instructors.

Rosie’s Girls— a summer day-camp inspired by a program started by Vermont Works for Women and Girl Scout camp programming—launched its first-ever Minnesota camp at Dunwoody College late last month. The camp was held in partnership with Girl Scouts River Valleys.

Photo of all of Rosie's Girls

More than 40 middle-school girls attended, building their awareness of—and their experience with—STEM-related higher education programs and careers. The camp comes at a time when skilled trade jobs, especially those within the construction industry, are in need of more women workers.

Building trades need more women workers

Photo of girl building in the construction lab

Photo Credit: Girl Scouts River Valleys

“Our demographic is nine percent women and 91 percent men, so we need to make that change,” said Heather Gay, Construction Management Program Manager, in a recent Kare 11 interview.

Electrical Construction & Maintenance Principal Instructor Polly Friendshuh attributes those low numbers to a lack of exposure of STEM programs and careers to young students—especially women.

“By high school, most students have already chosen or have some idea of the direction they are going upon graduation—and most of those students never have any exposure to the construction trades,” she said.

“This camp provides that before they have a pre-conceived idea of what they want to go into and perhaps will spark the idea that there are many pathways available to them.”

Girls learn to build, weld, and wire at Rosie’s Girls

Photo of girls holding their Little Free Library

Photo Credit: Girl Scouts River Valleys

During the camp, the girls were able to participate in a wide array of hands-on, STEM-related projects, including building Little Free Libraries; welding sculptures; and wiring a switch, light and receptacle. For two weeks, campers were able to accurately see what a career in carpentry, welding, electrical wiring, drafting and design, or surveying could be like.

“It’s important for young girls to get exposed to the trades and skills early on so that they know it’s a career path,” Gay said in a KARE 11 interview.

Rosie’s Girls sparks confidence

When girls weren’t exploring Dunwoody labs and equipment, they were participating in other physical activities like rock climbing, archery, and team building games. Campers also worked on their leadership skills, participated in arts activities, and learned how to successfully work and communicate as a group.

Photo of girls holding power tools

Photo Credit: Girl Scouts River Valleys

Girl Scouts River Valleys’ staff noted that “by offering girls a chance to ‘do things’—particularly things they or the adults in their lives may not have believed were appropriate for girls to do—the Rosie’s Girls Program seeks to reverse the downward trajectory in girls’ self confidence.”

Friendshuh, who led a number of camp activities, said that not surprisingly not every girl identified with every activity and career—but it was an incredible feeling seeing those who did connect with an activity succeed and have fun.

Photo of girl welding in welding lab.“The trades can provide a career option that not only pays well but can be obtained without a four-year degree. I hope the camp helped them to gain a better idea of what a technical college is and what it can mean for them as they move on into high school and beyond.”

And while college plans and the girl’s professional lives might still be a ways off, Friendshuh said above all, she hoped the camp gave the girls “a sense of accomplishment, empowerment, and the realization that they can be anything they want.”

Photo Credit: Girl Scouts River Valley

 

Dunwoody-built Little Free Libraries coming to a community near you

Student clubs and organizations provide undergrads with unique volunteer and professional development opportunities.

One of the many perks of a Dunwoody education is the abundance of professional clubs and student organizations on campus. With over 20 to choose from, these clubs are more than just extra-curriculars. They serve as valuable ways for students to meet industry professionals, participate in community outreach, and build their résumés and portfolios.

And the College’s National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) student chapter, led by Construction Project Management Instructor Jon Hassenfritz, is no exception.

Photo of one of the student-built Little Free Libraries.Students build Little Free Libraries for BATC

Earlier this semester, the NAHB student chapter was approached with a unique volunteer opportunity: to help build three Little Free Libraries for the Builders Association of the Twin Cities (BATC).

The libraries resemble small houses and operate as a free book exchange for anyone interested. Once constructed, the student-built libraries would be put on display—and to work—in the towns of Oakdale (near Cardinal Place neighborhood), Apple Valley (near the Government Center and the city library and park) and Anoka (near Walker Methodist senior living community).

“The goal is to encourage reading at home as studies have shown that having more books at home improves literacy levels and school-readiness among children,” said Heather Griffis, BATC Office Manager and project coordinator.

Photo of Dunwoody students working on the Little Free Library

Photo Credit: Builders Association of Twin Cities

“BATC’s relationship with Dunwoody and the Construction department at Dunwoody has always been good. It’s important to us to work with our members. We thought this was a good opportunity for the students at Dunwoody to do something fun while working on their degree.”

NAHB members and project volunteers John Jeske, John Bautch and Bradley Toenges agreed, jumping right in to the project.

Student activities promote professional development

Hassenfritz said that throughout the project Jeske, Bautch, and Toenges were able to enhance their building and project management skills.

“We were provided with two designs for the libraries and then were able to design the third one ourselves,” Hassenfritz explained. “Students had to learn to read and understand the build plans so that they could cut and assemble the houses.”

The students were also able expand their knowledge of a variety of different hand and power tools.

Photo of one of the Little Free Libraries.“Participating in the student chapter of the NAHB has a lot of benefits for students,” Hassenfritz said. “Through the club they have access to networking events, trade shows and many other experiences that other students don’t.”

“This gives them the opportunity to meet and talk with people in the residential construction field. These connections they make can open up opportunities for internships and full-time employment,” he said.

Learn more

The libraries are currently in their final building stages. Upon completion, the finished houses will be sent back to the BATC for painting and decorating. The finished products are expected to be installed by the end of the summer.

Learn more about where these libraries can be found.

Learn more about Construction Management.

Three high school robotics teams earn Dunwoody Engineering & Design Award at State Robotics Tournament

MSHSL Robotics Competition at Mariucci sponsored by Dunwoody College of Technology. On Saturday, May 21, Dunwoody gave out three Outstanding Engineering & Design Awards at the Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) Robotics Championship at Mariucci Arena. Dunwoody Engineering Drafting & Design Adjunct Instructor Al Jaedike judged each of the state’s top 30 FIRST Robotics teams competing in the tournament and made selections based on unique engineering design solutions to robotic challenges.

FRC Team 4539 from Frazee-Vergas

FRC Team 4539 from Frazee-Vergas

The award acknowledges that while winning the tournament is a major achievement, innovation can come from creative thinking, experimentation, failure and budgetary and/or engineering constraints. Each of the winning teams took home a trophy and a check for $500.

FRC Team 4009 from Duluth-Denfield

FRC Team 4009 from Duluth-Denfield

Congratulations to the following high school FIRST robotics teams for earning the Outstanding Engineering & Design Award:

• Team 4009 Duluth-Denfield
• Team 4539 Frazee-Vergas
• Team 5172 Greenbush-Middle River

FRC Team 5172 from Greenbush-Middle River

FRC Team 5172 from Greenbush-Middle River

Dunwoody has been a friend and sponsor of the Minnesota State High School League’s FIRST Robotics competition for several years. This is the second year that Dunwoody has given out the Outstanding Engineering & Design Awards.

Dunwoody student testifies in MN Legislature on behalf of College’s YCAP program

YCAP student Tiara Hill

Pictured: YCAP student Tiara Hill

On Friday, April 15, Dunwoody College of Technology student Tiara Hill testified before a Minnesota State Senate committee on behalf of the College’s Youth Career Awareness Program (YCAP) to provide background on a bill that would give grants to pilot programs in Ramsey County focused on serving girls of color.

The awarded grants would be used to:

  • Increase the academic success of girls of color.
  • Reduce suspensions in public elementary and secondary schools.
  • Increase on-time high school graduation rates.
  • Encourage their pursuit of a postsecondary education program.

If awarded the grant, the recipient organization would develop a model program that other counties in the Twin Cities metropolitan area can replicate and use.

YCAP: a model for success

Since 1988, Dunwoody’s YCAP program has been a model for enhancing career opportunities for under-represented youth by empowering them to graduate from high school. Its goal is to provide more females and students of color who come from disadvantaged backgrounds the opportunity to attend college. Since its start, YCAP has assisted more than 1,250 students.

YCAP begins with a six-week summer camp where high school juniors and seniors get the chance to explore technical career opportunities and take college-readiness courses.

After the summer camp, YCAP offers a supplemental scholarship to assist with tuition, books, supplies, and technology fees for students choosing to attend Dunwoody.

Ninety six percent of YCAP students graduate from high school and 85% go on to a post-secondary education at Dunwoody. With these success rates, it’s no wonder the Legislature was interested in learning more about it to help form their upcoming decision.

Hill testifies in state Senate

Hill was excited to speak on behalf of YCAP to support this bill because she felt that without the YCAP scholarship, she wouldn’t have been able to attend college.

Hill was accepted into Dunwoody’s YCAP program in 2015 and will earn her Welding Technology certificate in May 2016.

“I didn’t have the option to go to college due to my finances,” Hill said. “[YCAP] gave me that chance, and I think that this bill will give a lot of other women in my situation a chance, too.”

Of the opportunity to testify before the Senate committee, Hill said: “It was amazing! I think that was the first time I had ever been scared, happy and excited all at once!”

After graduation, Tiara plans to come back to Dunwoody to complete a degree in Machine Tool Technology and get more involved in her field of study.

“But my huge goal is to give back to Dunwoody,” Tiara said. “I want to provide people with scholarships to attend school here. I truly enjoyed every moment here, and I am looking forward to next year.”

Find more information about the YCAP program on Dunwoody’s website or contact YCAP program coordinator Peggy Quam at pquam@dunwoody.edu.

Dunwoody College offers unique summer camp opportunities

Looking for something to do this summer? Dunwoody College of Technology is delighted to offer the following camp opportunities for 2016:


STEM Camp Sponsored by Boston Scientific: June 13-16, 2016

Dunwoody’s Robotics & Manufacturing department invites high school students entering their junior and senior years to explore various STEM programs and careers. Learn from technicians, engineers, students, and instructors through short lectures and demonstrations followed by hands-on projects.

Open to students entering 11th and 12th grade.

Click here to register! 


Discovering Interior Design: June 20-23, 2016

Interior Design faculty and other professional designers from the design community will help participants study color, materials, architectural drawing and digital media. Campers will also visit design firms and beautiful spaces around the Twin Cities.

Open to students entering 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th grade.

Click here to register!


Rosie’s Girls: June 20-24 and June 27-July 1

Campers can embody Rosie the Riveter at Dunwoody College’s first ever Rosie’s Girls Camp, hosted by the Girl Scouts River Valleys. Girls entering 6th, 7th and 8th grade will have the chance to learn how to weld, wire, build, draft and design—all with help from women instructors.

Open to girls entering 6th, 7th and 8th grade.

Click here to register!


Arts-n-Crafts, Robots & Computing Camp: July 25-29, 2016

Hosted by Dunwoody’s Computer Technology department, campers will learn the basics of computing through arts and crafts projects. Build and program robots with LEGO Mindstorms ®, learn about Artbotics, and program with Scratch. Dunwoody faculty and staff will lead the activities.

Open to students entering 6th, 7th and 8th grade.

Click here to register!


 

 

 

Two Interior Design students design show sets for Northwest Community Television

Photo of Angelica Sedano and Alyx Paschke

L to R: Angelica Sedano and Alyx Paschke

Late last year, Northwest Community Television (NWCT)—a non-profit organization that offers free production classes, equipment use, and channel time to those in the northwestern suburbs of the Twin Cities—realized they needed a change.

“Our current TV sets were outdated, falling apart, and overdue for an overhaul,” Studio Manager Nikki Jackett said.

And as the 2015 fiscal year was coming to a close, Jackett realized they had some dollars left in their budget. So, she chose to put that money towards set renovation.

A perfect match

“We only had six weeks to get ideas together and the money spent,” Jackett said.

Photo of existing NWCT set

NWCT set prior to remodel.

“Knowing design is not in my wheelhouse and having a limited budget, I asked my boss if I could reach out to students to work with. I’ve had good experiences working with students in the past. I love their energy and eagerness.”

When searching for the students, Jackett said she “never looked beyond Dunwoody.”

“I’ve always heard good things about the school, so it was the first and only one I emailed,” she said.

And when senior Interior Design students Alyx Paschke and Angelica Sedano learned of the project, they knew they had to be involved.

“Set design is something that has always interested me,” Paschke said. “I’m going to grad school for themed entertainment design so this project was very closely aligned with what I am hoping to do.”

The design process

Due to the wide variety of shows offered by NWCT—which includes talk shows, sports shows, children shows, cooking lessons and craft demonstrations—Paschke said, “versatility was a major aspect in the design concept.”

Photo of existing NWCT sets and photo of what they would like after the remodel.

Paschke and Sedano used SketchUp—3D modeling software they use for class projects at Dunwoody— to generate ideas for the new sets.

“We decided it would give us the most for our budget to repurpose and reuse many of the existing sets and set elements,” she said.

And while the students did have complete design freedom, there were some limitations.

“The sets had to be mobile, lightweight, and easily assembled and deconstructed for transportation to and from the set storage warehouse,” Paschke said. “We also had an extremely small budget for all of the sets, construction supplies, finishes, furniture and décor, which allowed us to get creative.”

Paschke and Sedano used SketchUp—3D modeling software they use for class projects at Dunwoody—to design the sets. Here they finalized the set colors, furniture pieces and design budget. Then, they set out to purchase the supplies.

“It felt a little bit like an HGTV show,” Paschke laughed as she described their overflowing carts at Ikea.

In an effort to keep the costs down, the students also approached several industry partners for help—and were successful in doing so.

Example of what a set would look like after the remodelSherwin-Williams agreed to donate the paint for the sets, and representatives from Shakopee Lowes Home Improvement provided budget guidance. Prime General Contractors also helped with transportation.

Thanks to their generosity, the two students were able to stay under-budget and upgrade six existing sets and the station’s kitchen.

The final product

Photo of one of the final sets

One of the final sets designed by Paschke and Sedano.

For Paschke and Sedano, however, the best part of the process was actually seeing the project come to life.

Paschke explained: “As students, a lot of the time we design and we do the 3D renderings—but that’s as far as we get. So it was really fun to see our work actually constructed.”

“It was our first real project like this so it was a little intimidating,” Sedano said. “But we worked together with everyone really well. It was nice to have our first project be with great people.”

Photo of Paschke and Sedano

Paschke and Sedano at the NWCT Open House.

Jackett agreed: “Throughout the entire process, Alyx and Angelica demonstrated an unbelievable passion for design and a keen understanding of what it means to meet the expectations laid forth while also looking outside of the box in exuding their own creativity. I can’t wait for the next opportunity to work with them and recommend them to others.”

According to NWCT’s latest newsletter, this is the Station’s first remodel since the media center opened in 1998. NWCT displayed the newly renovated sets at an Open House event late last month.

Paschke and Sedano will graduate this May with a bachelor’s degree in Interior Design.

Learn more about Dunwoody’s Interior Design program.